Thursday, December 16, 2010

Around the Table

A gift last Christmas, and mounted on our kitchen wall above the stove, visible from the adjoining dining room ... full of emotion for me. Blessed with a family of six children (all grown now), it is true ... "THE FONDEST MEMORIES ARE MADE WHEN gathered around the table". And beyond our own six (and the four sons-in-law, and nine grandchildren these six have rewarded us with, so far!) are our own parents (some with Jesus now), our brothers and sisters-in-law, and a host of other family and friends who have joined us at our table.

Spending time with those we love around the table ... a place of connection, and where we are nourished with food for the body, and food for our soul and spirit. And especially at times of the year such as this Christmas season, our hearts are called to return home, with visions of around the table, surrounded by those we love.

Why do these words bring up a well of emotion in me, up to flowing over? And why is this true for others all around the world, whether their "table" be inside a spacious home, or outdoors, set in primitive surroundings?

My emotions, no doubt, stem partly from the memories of the table that my own dear mother set. She loved to serve, to hostess, and prepare feasts of delicious food. Besides serving many people in their home in Japan while she and Dad were missionaries there, she also served many other missionaries and guests at the mission headquarters there in Japan where she served as hostess and chief cook for 20 years. Her family benefitted the most from her table, of course ... and even after her first stroke, at the age of 87, she continued to serve and bless us "around the table".

My mother's table in 2005 ... the summer we celebrated her and Dad's 60th wedding anniversary.

When our babies began arriving (six of them altogether), it was our instinct to gather them to the table, to be near as we ate our meals together. Even before they could sit up well on their own, we would stuff little blankets around them in their high chairs. We wanted them close by, part of the conversation "around the table".

Four-month old Carrie at the table with us, with older sister, Sara, close by to help ...

The years have gone by, and our family has grown to 21 now. With the use of a portable table, brought out to connect on to our big dining room table, we can all still fit "around the table". A highlight of each holiday, each birthday, each time we gather (whether it be in the cold of winter or in the heat of summer as we eat outdoors), we make great effort to gather together for meals "around the table".

Family Christmas 2009

Family Thanksgiving 2010

Why do our hearts long to gather with loved ones at Christmastime, and throughout the year? Could it be ...  because we are "made in the image of God" ... God, who is Trinity, perfect unity, perfect Love? Made in His image, our souls cry for deep connection, for gathering.

And deeper still, are we made by our Creator for that ultimate Feast, that great Wedding Feast of the Lamb, where we will celebrate and finally be together with the One who always was, and always will be, the One who is Love? The One whose birth we celebrate at Christmastime, this holiday of the year that draws our hearts towards home like none other.

This Christmas, and each Christmas, we pray that all those whom we love will someday be at that Feast of all Feasts, "around the table", with the One who came as a Babe in the Manger, who gave His life as a Gift of Love for each of us.

Linked to Walk with Him Wednesdays

1 comment:

  1. Oh, your words and pictures make me cry. My family loves to gather around the table too. When I hosted Thanksgiving this year, I tried so hard to squeeze as many as I could around each table so we could be TOGETHER, whether "comfortable" or not. I taught a class a year ago for the ladies at my church but instead of sitting in rows and "going to class" we sat around a great big table and "came to the table" together each week.

    May you have a blessed Christmas with your wonderful family.